be made complete,
live in peace;
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11
I noticed five commands as Paul says good bye to the Corinthians.
There are circumstances and people that disrupt our gladness, REJOICE.
There are places in our lives that need repair (the word for complete).
Mend them. BE COMPLETE.
There is encouragement as we obey, BE COMFORTED.
Think like Christ. Bring your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
BE LIKE MINDED.
Instead of arguing and stirring up things, LIVE IN PEACE.
Then, I noticed the promise.
THE GOD OF LOVE AND PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU.
Now that’s a promise! I want to walk today hand in hand with the God of love and peace.
For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish
and may be found by you to be not what you wish;
that perhaps there will be
I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you,
and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past
and not repented of the impurity,
sensuality which they have practiced.
2 Corinthians 12:20-21
I enjoy finding out what God hates as well as what He loves in the Bible. Because He is my friend, I want to walk in close fellowship with Him. I want to avoid those behaviors that are offensive to Him! Here is a short list of some of those sins from the above verses. This is a great reminder of what Jesus died for!
I noted two helps if these things characterize my life.
Mourn= feel or show deep sorrow or regret for.
Repent= think differently, change my mind and act right.
Are they servants of Christ?--I speak as if insane--I more so;
in far more labors,
in far more imprisonments,
beaten times without number,
often in danger of death.
Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
Three times I was beaten with rods,
once I was stoned,
three times I was shipwrecked,
a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
I have been on frequent journeys,
in dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers,
dangers from my countrymen,
dangers from the Gentiles,
dangers in the city,
dangers in the wilderness,
dangers on the sea,
dangers among false brethren;
I have been in labor and hardship,
through many sleepless nights,
in hunger and thirst,
often without food,
in cold and exposure.
Apart from such external things,
there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
Who is weak without my being weak?
Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
2 Corinthians 11:23-29
Paul also said…
That I may know Him
and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of His sufferings,
being conformed to His death;
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body,
which is the church,
in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
Now that’s a perspective on suffering. How are we doing?
But I am afraid that,
as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness,
your minds will be led astray from the
purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3
Satan’s character hasn’t changed. He’s still tricking people, including believers. Paul’s fear is that the believers lose their precious priority of devotion to Christ. The word simplicity here has the sense of single-mindedness. Having one thought… devotion to Christ.
My one thought today is to enjoy my relationship with Christ. He is my sweet companion. I fellowship with Him all day long. We walk together and talk together. And do you know what? It keeps me on track for Him. He tells me some of His secrets. There is no better, sweeter friendship. What a delight! What a privilege!
Thanks, Lord, for that reminder today! It really is not complicated. It's very simple.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers;
for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness,
or what fellowship has light with darkness?
Or what harmony has Christ with Belial,
or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
For we are the temple of the living God;
just as God said,
"I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD,
AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
"Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,"
says the Lord.
"AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
"And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,"
Says the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16
Believers have a special and unique relationship with the Lord Jesus.
We have been made righteous so in order to preserve that sweet relationship, we need to stay away from lawlessness. We are light so we can’t fellowship with darkness.
Christ doesn’t harmonize with Satan. We need to be on the alert!
The thrilling part of this is when we live separate lives, the fellowship with God is close, sweet and wonderful! He welcomes us! He is a Father to us! I miss my father. He was a special man. What could be better than a Father who is the Lord Almighty. Wow! That’s what I want. More of Him.
Lovely instructions and sweet promises.
Therefore we also have as our ambition,
whether at home or absent,
to be pleasing to Him.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:9,10
What should my aim be today?
To please the Lord.
Please= cause to feel happy and satisfied.
Take His wishes in to consideration in deciding how to act or proceed.
Well that’s pretty plain and simple!
I have my goal for the day.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled,
they will accumulate for themselves teachers
in accordance to their own desires,
and will turn away their ears from the truth
and will turn aside to myths.
But you, be sober in all things,
do the work of an evangelist,
fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering,
and the time of my departure has come.
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the course,
I have kept the faith;
in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord,
the righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day;
and not only to me,
but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:3-8
Notice the time…”The time will come when…”
Notice the three groups of people…”They”… “You”… and “I”
THEY want their ears tickled.
THEY don’t want the truth.
(Has that time come? I think so!)
YOU (to Timothy) endure hardship.
Do the work of an evangelist.
Fulfill your ministry.
(Don’t worry about what THEY are doing!)
I (Paul) am enduring hardship.
I am looking for the reward.
I am looking for HIM!
Good encouragement for us today!
Not that we are adequate in ourselves
to consider anything as coming from ourselves,
but our adequacy is from God,
who also made us adequate as servants…
2 Corinthians 3:5, 6
Adequate = Satisfactory. Acceptable. Passable.
My first response in serving the Lord is “I can’t do it!” I don’t know how. I don’t know what I should do. I won’t be able. But when I was young God gave me this verse as my life’s verse. God showed me that my own adequacy is lacking. On my own, I really can’t serve Him. HE made me a servant. HE gives the ability to serve. I’m thankful for this reminder today. I’m thankful that HE does the work through us.
Wonderful! Now let’s get serving HIM!
We have been at Story Book Lodge for a wonderful week of camp, so I haven't been able to write. We have one week at home before going to Ozark family camp. I loved today's reading:
But thanks be to God,
who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
and manifests through us the sweet aroma
of the knowledge of Him in every place.
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God
among those who are being saved
and among those who are perishing;
to the one an aroma from death to death,
to the other an aroma from life to life.
And who is adequate for these things?
For we are not like many,
peddling the word of God,
but as from sincerity,
but as from God,
we speak in Christ in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 2:14-17
Always the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
F. B. Meyer writes:
Wherever they went men knew Jesus better; the loveliness of the Master's character became more apparent. Men became aware of a subtle fragrance, poured upon the air, which attracted them to the Man of Nazareth.
Wonderful! Wouldn't it be lovely if we radiated the sweet aroma of Christ today!
More than anything I would like to encourage you in your walk with God!